Don’t throw your computers out the window just yet — those are not typos! Those are bonafide totals and an absolute dissection of the NBA’s worst defensive team.
18-26 from three. 26 assists, 56% shooting from the field and, best of all, a convincing victory at home.
On the night that was billed as a Brook Lopez-DeMarcus Cousins showdown, it was actually a showdown straight out of 2009 — Rajon Rondo vs. Joe Johnson. En route to a 33-25 lead after one quarter, Johnson was 5-6 from the field with 13 points, 3 threes, and 4 assists. Nearly mirroring him was Rondo, leading the Kings with 11 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals.
After the 6-7 effort from three-point range in the first, the Nets followed it up with the athletic Larkin and Markel Brown forcing the issue in the second, pushing the lead as high as 10. And yet, as the world still turns, the sun still sets, and the Nets’ second unit still plays defense at a subpar level, Brooklyn blew it as Cousins, much like he did in their November matchup, took over.
But, somehow, the usual mistakes were completely neutralized by their scorching streak from downtown, so not only did they hold on to the lead, it grew. The good times kept rolling in the second half and beyond, spurred on by Johnson’s 5-assist, eyes-in-the-back-of-his-head third quarter. Remarkably, the Nets pushed their lead to 20 and scored more than 100 points in three quarters for the first time since December 2013 (per YES Network).
From start to finish, this was a three-point shooting clinic for Brooklyn — hitting a season-high 18, completely mitigating their poor 22-turnover mark. But, believe it or not, the Nets are starting to flesh out the offense here under Tony Brown — as their plays highlighted little screens, movements, and drop-offs that led to great looks and, most importantly, less isolations.
With the Philadelphia 76ers on tap tomorrow, could the Nets be on the verge of another elusive winning streak? If they play like they did tonight, they’ll be a tough out for anybody.
23 PTS, 7-9 3PT, 4 REB, 3 TOV
That chemistry, swoon!
Bojan Bogdanovic and Joe Johnson were on another level all night. Delivering off of Johnson’s pillowy passes, Bogdanovic has burst out of his miserable shooting January cocoon. Even more, Bogdanovic is spending more and more time firing away from behind the arc than ever — and, as we all know, the Nets sorely need somebody consistent from that area.
Underrated Facet: He’s no Stephen Curry, but Bogdanvoic has become a fun player to watch off-ball. Go ahead, keep an eye on him tomorrow and marvel as he weaves his way in and out, through and under screens, and into any open nooks and crannies.
But, uh, 7 three-pointers, so, yeah.
26 PTS, 11-21 FG, 12 REB, 3 AST, 1 BLK, 3 TOV
Solid if not spectacular, Lopez proved that he could play the 3rd fiddle with no problem. After a cold 1-6 start, Lopez settled down against Cousins, he collected loose rebounds and feasted whenever Kosta Koufos was defending.
He wasn’t the star of the show, but he was great as usual.
17 PTS, 4-5 3PT, 4 REB, 1 AST, 3 TOV
Fans have been waiting all season long for Bogdanovic, Ellington, and Johnson to be their reliable selves from behind the arc — but maybe they were just looking in the wrong place?
After getting a quick yank from Tony Brown in the first, Sloan made the third quarter count, piling on 12 of his 17 points as the Nets poured gas on the fire.
14 PTS, 6-10 FG, 14 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 3 TOV
With Sloan and Larkin occupied with chasing Rondo around, Thaddeus Young stepped into and distributed better than (nearly) anybody else on the floor. There are nights when the Nets desperately need Young to shoot on every possession and sometimes they don’t — on nights like these, Young is more than willing to settle into whatever role the Nets need from him.
Near triple-double without any of the attention? Sure, why not…
27 PTS, 11-16 FG, 5-7 3PT, 6 REB, 11 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 6 TOV
That. Was. Gorgeous.
As if ripped from the YouTube highlights of 2009, Johnson caught fire and was the catalyst for the Nets’ emphatic start (and finish). After a 20-point first half, Johnson followed it up with 5 assists in the third quarter, effectively putting the game away for good. But, the way he did it was the most remarkable part and his quick, snappy, no-look passes tore the NBA’s worst defense to shreds.
Yeah, like they’re going to buy THAT out.